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|Stephen Barden, former CEO of Beckman Employees CU (now Pacific Community CU), and Chairman of Western CUNA Management School Board of Trustees|
"He was extremely influential in the development of the school and its success," said Dr. James Likens, president of WCMS. "He was brilliant and conceptual. He was philosophical about the credit union movement, and he was committed to it."
Likens said a WCMS scholarship will most likely be established in Barden's honor.
Barden was formerly CEO of Beckman Employees CU (now Pacific Community CU), and was part of a family devoted to credit unions. His late father and mother, Lance and Dorothy, both received the League's "Unsung Hero" Award in 2007 for their decades-long passion and commitment to the industry.
Lance had passed on his love for the credit union movement to his son, Stephen, and his granddaughter, Sue Longson, who is vice president of business development and community relations for SCE FCU today. Lance had organized the first credit union in Nevada, as well as more than 400 other credit unions in western states.
His legacy and love for credit unions was carried on by Stephen, who in 2004 was interviewed by the editors of Credit Union Digest. "The important difference between credit unions and the rest of the retail financial services industry is that every credit union 'customer' is a member-owner," he said at that time. "Credit unions must primarily consider their members' best interests in setting goals."
Likens will remember Barden as one of the greatest defenders and promoters of the credit union movement. "He was the first person to bring me into the credit union movement," Likens said. "And before he suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his later years, he had as fond a memory as I ever knew. He was a wonderful human being."
Barden was a League board director for two terms, served on 10 different League committees, chaired Western Corporate FCU's (WesCorp) supervisory committee, and helped create the Credit Union Deposit Network. He was also a member of the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES), and received the National Association of Federal Credit Unions’ Demonstrated Leadership and Distinguished Service Award in 1977. Barden was also a 1980 recipient of the California Credit Union League’s Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was involved with WCMS from its inception in 1962, chairing its board of trustees from 1971-1997.